I’m Moving!

WordPress has been my blog home for over a year now, and it has been a wonderful place to be. But it is time for me to move my blog to her new home as soon I will be officially launching Nicole McArthur Photography. I am so completely nervous about putting myself out there. Up until now, my blog has been visited only by friends, family, family of friends… And once my website goes live, my photography will be on display for all to see. And I am terrified that strangers won’t get me. So when that feeling of imminent failure turns my stomach in knots, I go to my freezer. Not for ice cream, but for this:

This is a page from the Professional Photographers of America magazine. I came home one day and found it stuck on the freezer door. My amazing and supportive husband was thumbing through my magazine (which is totally funny because he reads things like “Feedstuffs” and “Guns and Ammo”) and he found this page. He tore it from the magazine and highlighted a few words with his Sharpie pen. If you know Gary, you know that he is a total smartass. When it comes to photography, he wastes no time in razzing me about my obsession interest. So for Gary to take this out of a magazine, one that I can’t believe he took the time to look through, is a tremendous gesture of faith and support.

Without further adieu, I give you the address of my new blog: www.nicoleslittleblog.blogspot.com. It is super cute thanks to the always wonderful and fabulous Christina Blankenship who designed it for me. I hope that you will stop by and visit us as it is always nice to see old friends.

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An amazing site

I read several photography blogs… for me, they are sources of information and inspiration. I found the most amazing post this morning while drinking my cup of coffee. The photographer’s name is Jose Villa and he shoots with film. That’s right, I said film. This post represents everything that I love about photography and everything that I aspire to do – not just in photography, but in life. I hope you love it as much as I do.

http://josevillablog.com/2010/04/mary-and-leo-married-60-years/

Chloe and Howard

Chloe is my 3 year old, Howard is my husband’s parrot. He is an African Grey, which is short for loud-mouthed-pain-in-the-you-know-what. I don’t claim him. I don’t even like him. But I cohabitate  with him because Gary loves him.

As much as I despise this bird, he sometimes says things that make me laugh. Take for instance the conversation that just occurred between him and Chloe. Yes, they talk to each other. And may I set the scene for you: Howard is in his cage and Chloe is in the bath tub, halfway across the house (and I am in the bathroom in case you were wondering who is monitoring my little fish).

Howard: CHLOE!!!!

Chloe: Howard, we are taking a bath.

Howard: Okay.

And there you have it.

Happy Birthday Chloe

Chloe’s third birthday was last week… I am such a slacker that it has taken me this long to write about it. Chloe turned 3 years old one week ago, with little-to-no fanfare. Poor girl got the shaft. Ella was sick, I was sick, daddy was working… fortunately Chloe is highly self-entertaining and managed to keep herself happy throughout the day. 

We had a small get together in Chloe’s honor on Saturday night: Grandma, Grandpa and a few close friends. Chloe received some wonderful gifts that she has not put down – garden tools from the grandparents, a doll house from Avery, as well as a Barbie doll (her first) and a Polly Pocket doll from Sydney and Shelby. We had some pizza, some cake, lots of laughs and good times.

The Birthday Girl

The Birthday Girl

 

Waiting patiently for cake

 

Coveting the cake, sneaking some frosting

 

Happy Birthday Chloe Belle. Happy Birthday to You!

 

Bittersweet

Today is a bittersweet day… it is the day my grandma would have turned 100 years old. She almost made it, too… My grandma passed away a month shy of her 97th birthday. I remember always joking that she would be on Willard Scott’s segment of the Today show, her smiling face on a jar of Smucker’s.

Well, it is not exactly Smucker’s, but I thought I would post a photo of my grandma on my blog. I don’t have any digital photos of her, so this is scanned.

My grandma

My grandma

I’m not sure who took this photo (I’m guessing my Aunt Linda), but I just love it. I love it because it shows my grandma in a canoe at their cabin on the pond. I love that my grandma is smiling. I love that my grandma (probably in her 60s or 70s at the time) is out being active, having a good time in nature. I love the colors in this photo. I love that you can see her reflection in the water. I aspire to take photos like this one. Not because of it’s composition or any technical aspects, but because in one image, it tells such a story about a person. It is a visual synopsis of who my grandma was, without saying a single word.

I wish that I could say I knew my grandma well, but I didn’t. Sadly, I never spent much time with her. In the first part of my life, it was a matter of geography – we lived on the west coast and she lived on the east coast. I the later part of my life, it was more of a matter of demographics – I was a self-absorbed genXer, more focused on my education and career than on family. I regret that.

A few years ago, my grandma was in the hospital, her heart was failing, Ninety six years is a long time to work without a break. And after some 4 billion beats, her heart was just worn out. I booked a flight, my sister met me at the airport and we went to the hospital to visit. I was 6 months pregnant with Chloe at the time. My grandma patted my belly and said hi to her newest great grandchild.

She died that day.

To say that was a sad day would be a gross understatement. But I don’t choose to look at it that way. Because when my grandma died, she was surrounded by two of her children, four of her grandchildren and one great grandchild. We held her hands as she passed and let her know that she was loved. For her memorial, friends and family gathered at my grandma’s senior living facility, played her favorite game and ate her favorite dessert. I think she would have had a wonderful time. And I think that is just the way she would have wanted it.

I am not one who is big on tradition or who likes to dwell in the past. But when I found out that I was pregnant with my second girl, I thought it would be nice to honor my grandma, in a subtle way. I named my daughter Ella, which was my grandma’s middle name. And hanging in Ella’s room is a doily that my grandma crocheted. It is right by her door, and is a little symbol to remind us of the importance of family. I think that my grandma would like that.

On this day, I would like to say Happy Birthday to you, grandma! I hope that you and grandpa are celebrating on this day, and every day.

 

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Have You Hugged a Veteran Today?

I have! But that is because I am married to one. I must say that before I met Gary, I didn’t really give it much of a thought…thanking, much less hugging, a veteran. A lot of people who know Gary know that he was in the Army as a wee lad. Not many know that he is a Gulf War Veteran. Gary enlisted in the Army straight out of high school and served for 2 years (which is all his dad would sign off on as Gary was 17 at the time). Gary trained on tanks; he started as a driver, moved up to loader and then gunner. In 1991, he was just a few weeks shy of discharge when he was called down to the Gulf, where he stayed for several months. He was a part of the ground war, Operation Desert Storm. I was just a senior in high school at that time, and had no idea who Gary was.  But I remember the yellow ribbons showing support as well as people  protesting the war. And I remember spending countless hours in front of the TV, glued to CNN for the latest updates. Who knew that at some point, my path would cross with one of those soldiers, the man who would become my husband and father of my two beautiful children.

Like I said, I didn’t know Gary at that point in his life. But I have a few pictures from the Army days, which I am going to share with you because I just love them. I apologize for the quality as I am pretty much inept with the scanner.

Army pic 1_edited-1

OMG how handsome is he?!?! Aside from pictures, I have never seen Gary without facial hair. And I can probably count on one hand the number of times I have seen him in a suit.

And I love this one, too:

Army pic 3

That is Gary popping his head out from inside his tank. He gave me this photo when we started dating 12 years ago. That smile still makes me weak in the knees (yes boyfriend, you still have that effect on me).

I started this blog for 2 reasons. First, I wanted to be able to share the photographs that I am taking with my family and friends. And second, I have found that writing is a cheap and highly effective form of therapy for me. One reason I did NOT start this blog was so that I could use it as a soap box. Here you will not find my opinion on controversial issues like politics, religion or whether or not the right person won American Idol. Because, gosh darn it, my blog is a happy place!!! 

So with that in mind, I urge you to have a great Memorial Day weekend. Have fun, be safe, and hug a veteran!